RFA and World Series of Fighting made their TV debuts, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum were named "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2" coaches, and Chael Sonnen named Dan Henderson one of his assistant coaches for "TUF 17."
But this week's winner of The Sunday Junkie, Boston's Joe M., focused on perhaps the biggest story of the week: Stephan Bonnar and Dave Herman's failed drug tests at UFC 153.
For his winning entry, Joe receives a "Best of UFC" prize pack from Anchor Bay Entertainment, which includes the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 versions of the "Best of" DVD. He also wins a one-year subscription to "Fighters Only" magazine, the world's leading MMA and lifestyle magazine.
Want to submit to next week's edition of The Sunday Junkie? Scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions.
Also, as a reminder, please be sure to include your hometown and stick within the 150-word limit (and include your submission in the body of an email, not in an attachment). Many quality submissions this week didn't meet those minimum guidelines and couldn't be considered for publication.
(Pictured: Stephan Bonnar)
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UFC NEEDS TO GET CLEAN OR GET LOST
In the slightly prophetic cafe promo for UFC 153, Stephan Bonnar is last seen calling Chael Sonnen for advice on how to fight Anderson Silva. We now must imagine that Sonnen instructed Bonnar to dope up, and then lose anyway. What's worse is the possibility that either of these men could have won the title from Silva prior to their busts. The UFC is not the NFL. It doesn't have the following, the credibility or the leeway for this type of scandal to occur. Silva deserves better than to have to step into the cage time and again with dopers, and the UFC is mismanaging the problem. If one of its great clean champions were dethroned or injured by a doper, the UFC can kiss its sporting legitimacy goodbye in this fans' eyes.
MMA'S STEROID CRISES
With the rash of positive steroid tests, MMA is on the verge of losing its advantage over other combat sports, not to mention sports in general. Much like Lance Armstrong put a black eye on cycling and has forever tarnished the record books with his doping "allegations," MMA is on the verge of having its reputation, as well as the legitimacy of its fighters, questioned. Although many MMA fans have been following this sport since its inception, without implementing stricter penalties for fighters caught cheating and by not testing all fighters regularly, MMA could lose millions of fans who are just "discovering" this sport. Boxing has lost a lot of fans after judging, rankings and other factors were questioned. Baseball has also suffered thanks to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. It would be a tragedy if the promising sport of MMA suffered the same fate.
Jorge De La Rosa
BONNAR IS SIMPLY AN EASY TARGET
Anyone thinking steroids are a small problem in MMA and limited to fighters such as Stephan Bonnar is sadly mistaken. With his failed drug test at UFC 153, Bonnar has become the poster boy for cheaters, and he's taking a lot of criticism. However, it's silly to think he doesn't have plenty of company. The only difference is that Bonnar got caught (twice actually). This doesn't tell us he's one of MMA's few cheaters; it just tells us he's dumb enough to get caught. While that makes him an easy target and fans continue to pile on, keep in mind that are countless cheaters who don't get caught – because they know how to cycle off, they use drugs that aren't yet detected by tests, they do it legally (with the ridiculous TRT exemptions), or they simply aren't tested because they fight oversees or in smaller shows. Bonnar may be the popular topic this week, but you'd be dumb to think he's the exception rather than the norm.
BONNAR'S TERRIBLE END TO AN OTHERWISE MEMORABLE CAREER
When news broke that Stephan Bonnar retired, my friend and I spent that day talking about Bonnar's best moments, which included the TUF 1 Finale, his TKO victory of Krzysztof Soszynski, and his defeats to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva. Bonnar always came to fight and left everything out in the cage, and we felt that he was leaving the sport with his head held high knowing he did it his way. Then the news broke that he failed the drug test for the Silva bout, and I was left feeling somewhat cheated after singing his praises. How can anyone leave the sport – one in which he helped make what it is today – on such a bad note? We all want to see our favorite fighter end on a high, but I think it's more important to finish with pride. Sadly, Stephan Bonnar has deprived himself of that.
RFA AND WSOF PROVIDE REAL OPPORTUNITIES
Resurrection Fighting Championship and World Series of Fighting both held successful events over the weekend. They put on cards that were filled with prospects and former UFC fighters. This provides a great opportunity for these fighters because both organizations have made it clear they won't hold their fighters back from moving onto the UFC if the opportunity arises. While some fighters may prefer the longterm contracts that Strikeforce of Bellator can offer, many relish the chance to get to the UFC and in many cases earn a second chance with the world's largest MMA promotion. Additionally, both organizations have a television presence and are willing to sign UFC-caliber opponents who allow the fighters to showcase themselves. While competition is great, these organizations provide a platform for these fighters to prove they deserve a spot in the UFC.
Noah "buffaloblue" Hubbs
ORGS LIKE WSOF JUST CAN'T COMPETE WITH UFC
After watching the World Series of Fighting's debut show on Saturday, I have come to the conclusion that the UFC is just too big to compete with in the U.S. Building a card with a few recognizable fighters, mainly recognizable for their high-profile firings from the UFC, just will not get fans excited. Now it seems Ray Sefo himself will be WSOF's main draw for the next card. It just goes to show you how shallow the talent pool outside the UFC is. Add in people thinking WSOF 1 was going to be on NBC (when it was on a channel formerly called Versus that's now NBC Sports Network) on top of the preliminary-card stream issue, and I really doubt a lot of people saw the fights. It just goes to show how big and polished the UFC has become and that trying to compete with it in the U.S. is almost pointless.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada
ARLOVSKI AND JOHNSON READY TO PROVE UFC IS HOME
Dana White let it slip in a past interview that if Anthony Johnson won his fight at WSOF 1, then he would be open to him coming back. Now that he's won, and very impressively if I might add, do you think the WSOF will let him go? The same question has to be asked about Andrei Arlovski even though White said, "I don't know who he's even fighting." You don't have to beat guys with names because how did the first fighters ever get anywhere? You just have to beat enough guys for people to know your name, and after his career, I think everyone knows Arlovski. I believe both fighters have spent enough time out of the organization and that it's time Johnson and Arlovski were given their shots to come home to the UFC.
"RUMBLE" JOHNSON FOUND HIS HOME AT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Finally we can see and appreciate the talent of one Anthony "Rumble" Johnson now that he has come home to his true weight class of light heavyweight. It was insane to see the 220-pound fighter try to cut weight to welterweight and try to compete while he was in the UFC. Some of his fights he looked lethargic and sickly from the weight cut. Other times he missed the boat big time and couldn't reach his weight (why the UFC cut him). At 205 pounds, he is fighting in his natural weight class and is on a 3-0 path of KO devastation! Another vicious KO or two, and the UFC will be knocking on his door again.
TIME FOR MIGUEL TORRES TO RETIRE?
Some fighters need to know when to call it quits. Such was the case for Chuck Liddell, Jens Pulver, Ken Shamrock, etc. Why tarnish the reputation and legacy they have built in the sport? They have nothing left to prove. This is the hardest decision to make for any fighter. Aging and the evolution of MMA make it hard for some fighters to change their "style." I believe this is the case with Miguel Torres. After a spectacular start to his career, Torres has looked like a shadow of his former self, including at Saturday's WSOF 1 event. He at one time was the best bantamweight in the world, and now he has lost most of his recent fights. Is it time to hang it up and focus on other aspects of MMA?
MMA FANS AS BAD AS MMA JUDGING
The fans booing during the Marlon Moraes vs. Miguel Torres fight at WSOF 1 once again reminded me that the casual MMA fan is just as bad as MMA judging. It's an ongoing problem that is plaguing events all over the country. The average Joe fan is just there to see violence (a la the ways of the Roman Colosseum and ancient gladiators). They came to see someone knocked out and hurt, and to not enjoy the technical display that is MMA. It was never more prevalent than after the Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez fight when UFC President Dana White called out these booing fans and told them to never buy another PPV again. As this sport continues to evolve, the fans that watch the sport need to evolve as well.
"TUF 17" IS SURE TO DISAPPOINT
The 17th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" will feature light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen. Dana White handpicked Jones and Sonnen as the head coaches to increase the low ratings of the show. Why them? Because Jones is hot. He is a commodity and needs time to rehab his arm. Sonnen is a sound-bite machine, the greatest talker in MMA and should provide an increase in interest for "TUF." But it seems White's plan may have backfired. As we all witnessed in the recent media/conference call, Jones and Sonnen have been nothing but respectful to each other. Why is this? Because Sonnen will only talk about you if you aren't in the room. He will not get in Jones' face and talk him down. He is simply not that kind of person. The upcoming season of "TUF" will once again be dull and boring.
SONNEN PICKS HENDERSON? ANYONE ELSE NOT SURPRISED?
Does anything Chael Sonnen do surprise anyone anymore? I mean, did anyone else see Sonnen picking Dan Henderson as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 17" from a mile away? Why wouldn't Sonnen pick Hendo? You see, in professional wrestling this choice would be called a "swerve," designed to entice viewers into watching the program to see how this "storyline" unfolds. Sonnen is stacking the deck against Jon Jones with smart strategy, coaches who will be scouting the champ at all times, and a sharp tongue to keep Team Jones on its collective heels at all times. Must-see television? Hell yes!
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
COULD "TUF: BRAZIL 2" BE DISASTROUS WITH COACH SELECTION?
The selection of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum as "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2" coaches has all the potential to be fantastic as well as disastrous. Let's look first at the upside. Werdum is easily a top-five heavyweight in the world. A win over Nogueira puts him in line for the winner of Alistair Overeem's fight against champ Junior Dos Santos or Cain Velasquez. "TUF" should be a great coming-out party to introduce Werdum to the public. Aside for diehard MMA fans, I am willing to bet that few actually know much about this guy. Now what if Nogueira wins? He's not exactly anyone's first choice for a title shot based on merit. He is just one win removed from Frank Mir snapping his arm. Guys such as "Bigfoot" Silva and Stefan Struve probably have a better stake at the shot than Nogueira. Should he win this fight, the UFC has cost itself a title challenger in Werdum. What further complicates this is the thought that Dos Santos is the current champ who Nog would never fight. I am a huge fan of Nogueira, but honestly I am forced to root for Werdum, and I think the UFC is too.
WHY SILVA WANTS GSP
Why does Anderson Silva want Georges St-Pierre for a super fight? I was bored and looking through stats Sunday morning and came to realize that St-Pierre is on an impressive streak himself in the UFC with nine straight victories and six title defenses (all not the most entertaining). He is not far behind Silva's records. With a win over Carlos Condit, St-Pierre will be six fights and three title defenses away from tying Silva's records. With plenty of years left for St-Pierre to retain a dominant reign and a short time left for Silva to continue his, it seems as if Silva is trying to eliminate the easiest threat to his legacy (that's been "padded" as some would say) against a resume of studs GSP has and will face in his career.
Kyle "The Truth" Leon
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
THE FIVE-ROUND EFFECT
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the UFC's first five-round non-title fight, it appears in retrospect that the UFC made the right decision by making headlining fights five rounds whether or not there is a belt on the line. The decision was polarizing at the time, and the first five-rounder at UFC 138 between Chris Leben and Mark Munoz didn't sway the argument either way as Munoz only needed two rounds to finish Leben. But then came the UFC 139 headlining fight between "Shogun" Rua and Dan Henderson, one of the greatest fights of all time. Without the extra two rounds, it would have been a lopsided decision victory for Henderson. Suddenly the dispute over five-round non-title headliners became a moot point. Six months later Chan Sun Jung would finish off Dustin Poirier in the fourth round of another action-packed fight that just wouldn't have been the same if it had been a three-rounder. Here's to a year's worth of extra action and many more to come.
UFC NEEDS MORE "PRIMETIME" SPECIALS
The UFC has done an awesome job with each of its "Primetime" specials it offers up before a big fight. The only problem I have is the organization doesn't have enough of them. The UFC wants to market its fighters, especially the champs, so why have they not done a special for every title fight? One of my favorite parts of the sport is seeing the lead-up and the time spent by the fighters perfecting their craft. I have seen every "Primetime" special countless times and was overly excited to see a new one that aired Friday night for UFC 154. Having more "Primetime" episodes will introduce occasional fans to all the champs not just GSP and whoever is facing the heavyweight champ.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
MMA HAS BRIGHT FUTURE IN 2013
As we draw closer to the end of the year, how do we compare it to previous years? With Zuffa being bitten by the injury bug, which has contributed to the cancellation of three cards, the Strikeforce roller coaster ride and strained relationship between Zuffa and Showtime, it's no secret that 2012 hasn't been the best and most successful year for MMA. The expectations for 2013 should be high, though. The UFC will be a year into its deal with FOX, and the rough edges should be straightened out. "TUF" looks to be revived on another night of the week to give the 15 people who have tuned in to this season their Friday nights back. The returning of huge names and talented fighters such Georges St-Pierre and Alistair Overeem and with emerging stars such as Rory McDonald and Glover Teixeira, not to mention Bellator moving to Spike TV, next year is fixing to be a fantastic.
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